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About this blog

Transition from portable astronomy

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Dwarf Nova

Concurrently with the dome assembly, I am cobbling together the potential contents.


Initially, I intend to install my HEQ5+250mm f/4.8 Newtonian on a tripod.


Have tested mount operations successfully indoors with indilib on a RaspberryPi, remotely connected to KStars.


I think indilib (http://www.indilib.org) is brilliant from many points of view.


Also working remotely with RPi/indlib are:

  • Xagyl filter wheel,
  • Atik CCDs (314E, 460EX),
  • DIY focuser drive,
  • GPS module (USB connected).

The electric focuser drive uses one of those ubiquitous steppers, controlled by an Arduino nano. This is bolted and belt-connected to a Crayford focuser.
Works well but is an ugly piece of engineering :embarassed: . Think I'll try to make a better package.
All of that is ready to go if I can just get the dome installed without neglecting too much the remaining work on the house :grin: .
I also have some morale-raising works-in-progress:
  • Have bread-boarded an indiduini meteostation; and am really pleased with the result. I have now to design a robust and rainproof container
  • Have ordered the bits for an all-sky camera (RPi NOIR); following the helpful examples set by several SGL members.
  • Have designed and prototyped automation for the dome. This integrates with KStars/INDI and comprises separate Arduino processors with DC motors for dome rotation and shutter control. The shutter-controller is wirelessly (RF24) linked to the indilib, dome driver. Pleasingly it all works on a test-bed. The challenge I now face is to mount it robustly and (fingers-crossed) aesthetically in the (as yet not assembled) dome. I feel I will be paying for the sheet-metal work. :rolleyes:
  • Have designed a pier for my EQ8 mount. Again, to resist corrosion, this has to be of marine-grade (316) stainless-steel. While I intend to weld the thing together I feel it wise to have the bits laser-cut. I am however unsure about where I can get the material.

This forum, in particular, has given me the inspiration and the nerve to attempt this project. I admire what people have done and am very grateful that they are willing, so generously, to share their experiences.

Dwarf Nova

A start

With the platform down, I have been contemplating how to assemble the dome (Pulsar Observatories 2.2m), making sure that it is secured always against the wind; which can gust here at ~100mph.


I have designed a stainless-steel bracket, several copies of which are to be bolted to the cupola. This will allow me to anchor the cupola to the concrete platform. I have bought marine-grade, stainless eye-bolts for this purpose.


So I can source my brackets could some kind person please recommend a supplier of small metal orders who preferably will also laser-cut?

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